Snow in the night. Not much, but enough to hide the mud, a brief respite from that small despair. But it’s melting already and the mud is returning in patches, first in the wells of my footprints to the barn and back at morning chores, then along the high edges of the furrows created by the weight of the tractor when I moved firewood yesterday. A nice old beech, a big tree, straight-grained and easy-splitting. I’m thinking it’s a half cord at least, which probably means it’s a third at best, and probably closer to a quarter.
Yesterday I walked past the remaining fatted hog on my way to drop that beech. He was supine and snoring in his nest of hay. I laid the saw at my booted feet and paused to scratch behind his ears a minute. He stirred, rotated his big head according to his pleasure, and as I scratched I realized how wrong I was when I wrote recently that I don’t mind killing animals for meat. Because I do mind. Quite a lot, actually. Truth be told, I’m dreading killing this fellow, which probably explains why he’s still alive, though of course I’ve been careful to couch my procrastination in the language of practicalities: Weather, conflicting obligations, other priorities, and so on. But the excuses are fast slipping away.
So, yes, I mind. But what I don’t mind is minding, and I suppose that’s where my confusion originated, although now I’m left to wonder if I’m a more compassionate person because I am bothered, or less compassionate because I am bothered, yet will not allow this discomfort to dissuade me? Riddle me this.
Either way, I know I will kill that pig, and soon. He is eating too much to not kill, and we’ve been out of bacon and pork sausage for months, now (fortunately, the supply of beaver sausage remains ample). Soon enough, I suspect, the acceptance of my discomfort will become a bigger thing than the discomfort itself, and I’ll stop thinking about whether or not I’m a compassionate enough person, and just do it. Or maybe we’ll arrive at the juncture where the pragmatics can no longer be made to justify further procrastination, and I’ll be reminded (yet again) of how many things in this life – my life, your life, anyone’s life, I suppose – really just boil down to doing what needs to be done.